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Questions about Linear Progression, Stalling etc

Hello everyone, since this is my first post I’ll begin with an introduction:

My name is Davide and I live in Naples, Italy. I’m 28 years old, 173cm short and 89kg, at around 21% bodyfat.

I started lifting two years ago, after more than 10 years of karateI stopped due to some family problems. Lifting helped me deal with the loss of one of the dearest people I had :slight_smile:

I initially ran starting strength and got to a 125kg squat, 135 deadlift and 75 bench. I don’t remember how much i pressed or rowed, sorry.

Since I had a rally shitty form a friend of mine who is graduated by the Italian powerlifting federation got me on a twelve weeks program that I did for about 8 weeks, before getting on the one lift a day by Dan John, the wendler 5/3/1 and occasional lifting session due to forced breaks (universiry, work etc).

i started lifting again this winter, even though I’ve had a lot of problems and had to skip a lot of sessions I managed to get at this weights, following starting strength again :slight_smile:

Squat: 130x4 (I deloaded and got back due days ago to 127.5 two days ago)
Deadlift: 150x4 (I managed to get five one time, but I’m stuck)
Bench: 80x4 (I managed to get 5 reps on the second set, but only four on the other two)
Press: 47.5 (beltless, zero problems)
Power clean: 52.5 (zero problems)

I’m eating a minimum of 2300 calories a day with 115grams of protein( I got these numbers from the articles “to be a beast”) with 6-9 hours of sleep every night.

Now, after this (not so short) introduction, here’s my question:

Should I keep going on with a linear progression? As you can see I’m missing reps on the bench and deads, and the squat is becoming really tiring. I don’t really know what to do, because I honesly fear about getting injured, since I lift alone in my basement and I just have a pair of squat stands with no safeties, since I cannot afford a power rack.

Thanks for your help:)

Way to stick with the weights, keep it up.

I ran SS for nine weeks or so and experienced much of the same things you are experiencing - weight getting heavy, stalling on lifts, etc… For me, it just wasn’t fun anymore. At first I switched to 72 hours of recovery (I’m old), then to a Heavy, Light, Medium schedule (so not really SS anymore), and finally to 5/3/1, which seems to be a good fit for me right now. I plan to take another run at SS in the fall when I am fresh off the Summer, and ready to eat like a champion. Which brings me to my point.

You’re not eating enough; calories and protein specifically. According to a TDEE calculator, you need 2300 calories to maintain your weight if you are a sedentary office worker.

The fact that you are lifting three days a week means you need more calories just to maintain weight. If you want to get stronger, you need to eat at least 2500 calories more per week to gain a pound of LBM. At 21% body fat, you’re probably freaked out by this, so maybe just add 1250 calories a week to start.

Of your daily calories, eight hundred of them should be protein (200grams) in order to build muscle. Try to keep your fat to below 700 calories (80 grams) and the rest carbs. If you do this, you will probably start hitting your reps.

But, that’s a decision you have to make. You cannot be calorically deficit and get stronger. So, if you want to lose weight, you need to switch to a program that matches up with your goals.

Good luck!

Yeah going to failure/missing reps is not good , time to get back on 5/3/1. As said above, up your protein.
This template works great…

Thank you both for taking time to help me guys, I do appreciate :slight_smile:

I had a feeling that the problem could be related with not eating enough. I upped my calories to 2600 x day, with a 40/25/35 split betwen C/P/F. I will be staying on starting strength for now and see what happens.

Do you think that it would negatively effect my body composition? I love strength training but I honestly don’t like being fat, so I’m trying to use a slow and steady approach to recomp while strength training. I don’t have competitive goals for now, so I’m not in a hurry.

Every suggestion on how to make it work as good as possible are very welcome.

Again, thank you all for your help =D


I’ve been reading Rip’s books and there are some ideas for when you stall on SS. You don’t have to add weight every workout - you can make it every week if you want. One recommendation is to add your weight on Monday, after two days off, go light on Wednesday (75%), and then back to Monday’s weight on Friday. Rinse, repeat.

When I ran SS I went from 188@13.5% to 197@16%. I was a lot stronger, but I couldn’t take being at 16% so I cut calories and stalled. I decided being lean for Summer was more important to me than being strong, so I switched to 5/3/1, and cut my calories and am back down to 14%. I’m eating at what I think is maintenance now and am pretty sure I am getting stronger without getting fatter (or leaner for that matter, at least not yet).

With respect to macros, I think 40/30/30 would work better than 40/25/35, but it’s not really that big of a deal. Give it a few weeks and so how your body reacts and tweak it from there. I think the key is to make minor adjustments and monitor how you feel and what you weigh. Going crazy and making radical changes isn’t productive, being patient and learning how you react is.

Ok. If ‘recomp’ and some strength gains are your goals then this is the best…

If you reeeally must stick with Rippetoe then move on to Texas method, the increased volume will lean you out slightly and people here generally report far superior results.

Thanks guys,

I will probably begin adding pullups and back extensions this week and see if the inreased rest between deadlifts and power clean helps, if not I’ll insert a light squat day and see what happens. If that doesn’t work I’ll go for the texasmethid However I have say that this 300 calorie/day surplus is making me feel amazing. yestrday I smashed basically all my work sets and got 130kg squat (3 sets of fives),80kg bench press (2 sets of five and a set of four due to a mistake in the setup) and a single set of 150kg on the deadlifts. My recovery between sets was way faster and I don’t feel as sore as the other days :slight_smile:
Let’s hope for the best. I’ll keep you updated on tomorrow’s workout.

As always, thanks a lot.


So you did a program aimed at your situation. This program didn’t take you very far and made everything a misery but you found one that is working for you now.

With this experience, your plan is to ditch the program which is working for one that didn’t work - with the added benefit that the program is no longer fit for purpose?

I don’t think this is a logical step and I encourage you to draw on your experience rather than promises of fast progress or saving you from wasting time. This is usuallypitched by the internet regurgitators who spend too much time synthesising knowledge rather than experiencing and reflecting.

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To be clear, I improved on all of my lifts significantly over nine weeks and it was far from being a misery. Initially, I enjoyed adding weight to the bar every workout and looked forward to setting personal records. It was fucking great.

Didn’t you just say it didn’t take me very far? You logic confuses me. I switched because I felt I had reached the end of linear progression and had become an intermediate lifter needing longer periods of recovery to adapt to the stress of the weights I was now lifting (I almost doubled my squat btw). I was following the basic idea of advancing from novice trainee to intermediate trainee and I’m surprised you would criticize that. I may have moved too soon, but I clearly wasn’t recovering from the stress in 48 hours and felt I had become stale, which is something Rippetoe addresses in PPST.

So first you criticize SS for causing me misery, then you criticize my decision to switch from SS, then you criticize SS again for promising fast progress, and characterize Rip as one of the [quote=“tsantos, post:8, topic:219131”]
internet regurgitators who spend too much time synthesising knowledge rather than experiencing and reflecting.

when he is certainly not an internet regurgitator.

Actually, this seems to typical of your posts so I don’t know why I am surprised.

I apologise if I misrepresented your words - not fun, stalling, etc but I dont think I criticised SS (did I even memtion it specifically?) - I suggested you reflect on your experience with it but you can shit the bed over my response instead if you choose.

I guess I dont understand why you put so little stock on your own experience but I hope your plan works out.

Classic misrepresentation of others words.

Then you say [quote=“tsantos, post:10, topic:219131”]
I dont think I criticised SS

This is exactly what you said.

Clearly criticism of the program (SS) I was using.

Let’s remember, this isn’t my thread, it is Davide’s. If you have something to say it should be germane to his topic, not criticizing other poster’s programs.

Thank you.

[quote=“The_Myth, post:11, topic:219131”]
Clearly criticism of the program (SS) I was using.[/quote]

What the actual program was is immaterial. I just pointed out that you had your own criticisms of SS yet you were ignoring them for some reason.

I think there is something in this for everyone.

A little update after today’s workout

Unfortunately my days of daily LP are over. I got 5/4/4 on the squat (132.5kg),4-3-3 on the press (50kg) and easily performed five sets of the of power cleans with 55kg.

Starting from next monday I’ll start rotating between deadlifts and power clean on workout A, but I have a problem with workout B. basically I don0t have a pull up bar or a roman chair in my garage gym. I have a free climbing bar at home so i thought of using light good morning instead of back extenision and do the pullups at home (since I workout in my garage XD), and also using wednesnay as a light squat day.

what do you guys think? how should i approach good morning? my idea was to keep the fairly light and do like3 sets of 10-15 reps.


This is common and Rippetoe addresses it in PPST. The first line of attack is to drop the weight to 90% on the lifts that you miss and continue with LP. If you are adding ten on the squat, only add five. If you are adding five, only add 2.5 (you can buy micro plates on Amazon).

Also, if I am not mistaken, A is DL and B is PC with DL 1x5 and PC 5x3. Chins are an addition to the basic workouts.

If you reduce by ten percent and start with LP, you can include backoff sets to get more volume and some momentum heading into the sticking point.

I was around the same weights you are now when I got stuck. Then I got hurt and switched to 5/3/1, but I regret it. I’m reading PPST right now and am in the chapters on programming. If you continue to be stuck, you can go heavy Monday, light Wednesday, and add five on Friday for one set of five instead of three. In other words, there are ways to stay on LP if you want to, maybe not daily, but still LP to milk the novice effect for as long as possible.